Lewis Hamilton era declared ‘over’ with Abu Dhabi the ‘great tipping point’

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton on the grid with his hands to his head. Bahrain March 2023

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton with his hands on his head at the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Dutch pundit Rob Kamphues doubts Lewis Hamilton could win an eighth title even if he joined a Red Bull-filled Aston Martin team in 2025.

After seven years of dominating the Formula 1 circus, Mercedes lost the Drivers’ title to Red Bull in 2021 when Hamilton was beaten on the very last lap of the championship by Max Verstappen.

But while pundits around the world said it was inevitable, after all winning streaks don’t last forever, Hamilton not winning a single grand prix since is not something anyone saw coming.

With his win-less streak up to 26 races, Kamphues has asked whether the “era of Lewis Hamilton in Formula 1 is over” and if Abu Dhabi 2021 was the “great tipping point”.

Writing in his Formule 1 Magazine column, he said: “Could something have snapped in the great champion? Lewis hasn’t won a race since that day, he hasn’t achieved pole, he’s never even started from the front row.

“In 2022 he also finished behind his younger team-mate in the championship and that younger team-mate also won the only race Mercedes won. Not to mention this season.

“It also seems that the era of Mercedes is over. The idea that the empire is collapsing is also confirmed by the transfer of team boss-designate James Vowles to Williams and the departure of Lewis’ beloved physio Angela Cullen.

“So in a row it’s clear as a lump, right?”

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‘Lewis himself will probably think otherwise’

But while Kamphues put forward what he considers signs that it is over, he reckons Hamilton will have a different perspective.

“Lewis himself will probably think otherwise,” he continued. “He will say that although he scored fewer points than George Russell last season, he still beat him when it came to speed.

“He will remind us of Alain Prost; who left Formula 1 with his tail between his legs in the year that Ayrton Senna became World Champion for the third time. He did not race in 1992, rejoined Williams in 1993 and promptly became champion himself for a fourth time.

“Lewis will point to Alonso and say ‘How many times have you written him off?’ After his failure at Ferrari, his failed adventure at McLaren and again last winter when he moved from Renault to Aston Martin. And look how he now drives like the stars from heaven again.”

But can Hamilton do a Prost, and at Alonso’s Aston Martin team?

Acknowledging that “theoretically he’s right”, Kamphues questioned whether Hamilton could do a Prost, take a year off and return in 2025 and do so with a Red Bull-packed Aston Martin team.

Even then though, he doubts the 38-year-old will ever add an eighth World title to his tally.

“Suppose Lewis takes a year off, Aston Martin buys so many staff from Red Bull that Max gets a worthless car in two years and Lewis takes over from Alonso after a year of lounging,” he said.

“It could of course happen, although it is all highly unlikely that he will win an eighth title in 2025.

“In other words: it is too early to definitively determine that the era of Lewis is over. But it is. Call me in five years and tell me I was right.”

There’s been a lot of talk about Hamilton’s future of late, the driver also linked to a move to Ferrari.

He, however, has insisted several times that he wants to see out his career with Mercedes and that he’s not yet ready to hang up his helmet.